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Zhuang v. Saquet

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 24, 2014



NATHANIEL M. GORTON, District Judge.

Plaintiff Xinrong Zhuang ("Zhuang" or "plaintiff") filed this pro se medical malpractice and civil rights case in 2009 after allegedly being assaulted by Brockton police officers and mistreated by Brockton Hospital personnel in related incidents in 2006. He alleges that defendants Officer Robert Saquet of the Brockton Police Department and the City of Brockton violated his civil rights and that defendant Brockton Hospital ("the Hospital" or "defendant") violated his civil rights and committed medical malpractice.

The case was filed in December, 2009, remanded to a medical malpractice tribunal in February, 2010 and returned to this session unresolved in May, 2012. The Court has since dismissed all of the plaintiff's claims against both Robert Saquet and the City of Brockton. It has also dismissed the federal civil rights claims and the Massachusetts medical malpractice claim against the Hospital. The claim against the Hospital arising under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act is the only viable claim remaining in this case.

Pending before this Court is defendant Brockton Hospital's renewed motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute and failure to comply with a Court order.

I. Background

Zhuang, a resident of Brockton, Massachusetts alleges that on December 22, 2006, he called the Brockton Police Department "for safety" because his son was using a knife to fix the kitchen sink and refused to use a different tool. He states that his son dropped the knife before the police arrived and that he and his son both told the police that the situation had been resolved. Nevertheless, according to plaintiff's account, the police handcuffed and arrested him using excessive force. He asserts that "four or five firefighters" knocked him down in his yard causing him to have an elevated heart rate and blood pressure of 150/110. In addition, he asserts that his mother, Heyi You, observed the incident and fainted because she was afraid.

Plaintiff alleges that he was then detained by Hospital personnel against his will for several days without being provided an interpreter or an opportunity to speak to an attorney. He claims that he was initially locked in a small room without water by five Hospital security guards and that they handcuffed his mother, dragged her out of the hospital face down and removed the handcuffs without unlocking them.

While plaintiff was in the Hospital, he alleges that Dr. Alexander I. Lipin gave him the choice between signing a form for mental health treatment or having treatment forced on him starting with an injection. Plaintiff states that he signed the form but did not read or understand its contents.

Finally, plaintiff claims that the Hospital personnel committed malpractice by their treatment of his purported injuries although the nature of the malpractice and of his purported injuries is unclear from his complaint.

II. Procedural history

Plaintiff filed his complaint on December 21, 2009. In February, 2010, this Court stayed proceedings and referred the case to a Massachusetts trial court to convene a medical malpractice tribunal pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, ยง 60B. In May, 2012, the tribunal found in the Hospital's favor on the grounds that plaintiff had failed to file an offer of proof.

The Hospital moved to dismiss this case based on plaintiff's failure to post a $6, 000 bond as required by the Suffolk County Superior Court but withdrew the motion shortly thereafter when plaintiff posted the required bond. Plaintiff later moved to withdraw the bond in order to use the funds to retain an attorney but that motion was denied.

The Hospital served plaintiff a first set of interrogatories and request for production on November 14, 2012. Plaintiff failed to respond. Accordingly, in February, 2013, the Hospital filed the first of many motions to compel answers to interrogatories and requests for production of documents. In March, 2013, Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler ordered plaintiff to produce responsive discovery to the Hospital on or before April 1, 2013. Plaintiff submitted answers to the interrogatories two days late but failed to respond to the request for production.

In May, 2013, the Hospital moved to dismiss for lack of prosecution and failure to comply with the March, 2013 order of the Magistrate Judge. In November, 2013, Magistrate Judge Bowler extended the discovery deadline and entered a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") to deny, without prejudice, the Hospital's motion to dismiss. The R&R warned plaintiff that failure to produce the requested documents by December 9, 2013 could result in dismissal or a monetary sanction and advised the defendant Hospital that it ...

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